Ernest Hemingway didn’t have to post on Instagram to promote A Farewell to Arms. Shakespeare didn’t need to put up “To be or not to be?” as a poll on Twitter. So why should you have to promote yourself to be an author in the 21st century?
Unfortunately, the literary market is crowded. Clever and authentic promotion across media, including social media, is one of the only reliable ways to stand out from the pack.
But to promote yourself effectively, you need to know what you’re promoting. And “me” is not a satisfactory answer to that question. You have to have a brand as a writer.
We’ll tell you why branding is important below, so read on to get a leg up on this crucial aspect of being a writer in our media-saturated era.
What Does It Mean for a Writer to Have a Brand?
A full-time writer’s brand is easy to confuse with other elements of their craft and career.
A genre is not a brand. Just as Hemingway and Shakespeare produced quite different work in the shared field of literature, authors can vary wildly across genres.
One aspect of an author’s brand is their writing style. You know when you read a Stephen King novel that not only will it likely be a horror but it will be his particular brand of horror. There’s value in that.
Of course, style isn’t the only defining element of a writer’s brand. Your choice of subject, as distinct from genre, plays a factor too. Isaac Asimov wrote a lot about robots. That was part of his brand, aside from how he wrote about them.
These unique identifiers make up the brand you beam out to the world.
Why Branding Is Important in the World of Writing
Once you’ve got an idea of the “you” you’re broadcasting through your work, it can be motivating to see what this knowledge can do for you. Understanding your brand is more than an intellectual exercise. It’s a powerful tool in building and sustaining your career as a writer.
Here are just five of the reasons why branding is an important thing for you to think about and put into action in your writing career.
1. It Tells the World What You’re About
Asimov’s robots. Shakespeare’s flexibility and playfulness with language. These parts of the writers’ brandsunicate their writer personas to the world.
Once you’ve established your own brand, your readers will approach you because they value what you value. They see the world the way you see it, or they at least like seeing the world through your eyes.
Your brand also encompasses your reputation for a certain level of quality. As you build that reputation brick by brick, you stake out a piece of the literary landscape that is uniquely yours. This makes your work the best example of this style because it is yours and yours alone.
2. It Brings Your Purpose Into Focus
Genre comes into play here a bit. Do you write memoirs to move readers and make them think? Do you write como make them laugh? By thinking about the intended effects of your work, you focus on the creation of that work.
When you know you want to be a funny writer or the analytical writer, these aspects of your brand can help you find your specific take on your ideas. Sure, the world has heard a million love stories, but knowing your brand can help bring your love story into the world.
3. It Helps You Find Your Audience
Brands exist to be recognized. There’s a reason we talk about “brand recognition.”
When, because of your reion and effective promotion, readers discover your work, you hope they find a kindred spirit that speaks to them. The more recognizable that spirit is, the easier it will be for you to attract those readers. Once you begin to build your fanbase, those early readers can start evangelizing your work for you, building that audience even more.
4. It Gives You Guidance Going Forward
A brand should be organic. If it is, returning to it can help you remind yourself of your priorities. Rememb your brand can tell you why you write, who you write for, and what you’re trying to accomplish with your writing.
These are helpful things to know when it comes to moving on from your last project and onto the next one. They can also help you assemble your work when you’re in the midst of it.
5. It Sustains Your Career Over the Long Term
We talked about how branding helps you build an audience. Well, the stronger your brand is and the more it grog the longer readers will stick with you. And loyal readers means the ability to make your living longer.
A successful brand will keep your readers coming back. They want to hear your take on the topics you’ve incorporated into your voice as an artist.
A Couple Branding Tips to Get You Started
Maybe we’ve convinced you of the importance of branding. But that doesn’t make the process of cultivating a brand any easier.
There are many facets to building a robust brand. Rather than try to cover all of them, we’ll give you a head start by naming a couple.
Humans learn by doing. So the way to build your brand is to write a lot and publish as much as possible.
Don’t be afraid of the fact that you may not have your brand nailed just yet. That’s natural, and part of developing your brand as a writer is learning what resonates about your writing once it’s in print. It can be a vulnerable process, but that vulnerability is one of the exciting parts of being a writer.
Diversify Your Output
This may seem counterintuitive to developing a strong brand. It’s not.
Just because you have a brand doesn’t mean it has to limit you. Bring your work to many different outlets. Write for different audiences. This will strengthen your writing and show the flexibility of your brand.
A good agency like this agency can help you with this type of career strategizing.
Be the Brand You Want to See in the World
We hope these lessons on why branding is important are helpful. By implementing the suggestions here, you can establish your brand in a way that represents you authentically and positions you for a long writing career.